A report released by the R&A in 2021 established that there were 66.6 million active golfers worldwide.
Delving deeper into the numbers, we see there are 60 million male golfers and 6.2 million female golfers. The number of female players represents healthy growth and is only the second time female participants have breached the 6 million mark.
For those men and women who might be interested in taking up golf, some questions will likely crop up, such as “Are women using men’s golf clubs? Is there a difference between mens and womens golf clubs?“
On that last question, do manufacturers recognize this difference and create specific clubs for men and women?
In this article, we’ll look more closely to see the difference between men’s and women’s golf clubs.
To do that, we’ll look at the following areas:
- Five Key Areas Highlighting The Difference Between Mens vs Womens Golf Clubs
- A Look At The Clubs Used By The Best Female And Male Golfers In The World
- What Lessons Can We Learn?
- Do Manufacturers Offer Clubs Specifically Aimed At Women?
Let’s jump into it!
Five key areas highlighting the difference between mens vs womens golf clubs
The difference between mens and womens golf clubs has narrowed over recent years; it would be hard to notice whether women using men’s golf clubs or not.
New technologies and materials used in constructing golf clubs have enhanced playability for all golfers, making golf a more friendly, accessible sport for everybody.
Let’s be honest here as well. We know the lines get blurred. Some women hit the ball a long way and compete with men regarding club head speed generated.
But, when it comes to the difference between mens and womens golf clubs, for average male and female players, we see five areas where we can still spot some differences, which are:
- Swing Weight
- Shaft Options
- Grip Size
#1: Swing Weight
The overall weight of a golf club has four individual constituent parts to it:
- Head Weight
- Shaft Weight
- Grip Weight
- Length of Club
The definition of the golf club’s weight is broken down into six weight ranges – A to F and within those, ten values are assigned.
Therefore, the lightest golf club would be measured as A0, with the heaviest club weighing F9.
How does this play out in demonstrating the difference between mens and womens golf clubs?
Men’s clubs will come in with a swing weight range of D0 to D3. Women’s clubs’ weight range is C5 to C7, meaning that, on average, women’s clubs are marginally lighter than men’s.
#2: Shaft Options
In defining the difference between mens and womens golf clubs, we see more graphite shafts in women’s irons than in men’s. This trend is mirrored in the LPGA Tour, where 11 of the top 50 players in the 2021 season used graphite shafts in their irons.
Of the top 100 male golfers on the PGA Tour, not one player had graphite shafts in their iron set in the 2021 season.
Graphite is lighter than its steel counterpart, meaning graphite shafts can help deliver more club head speed. Graphite shafted irons are also popular in beginner’s or high handicapper sets for men, but better male players will use steel shafts.
There are lighter steel shaft options available for both women and men when it comes to irons.Steel shafts can vary in weight from 70 grams to 130 grams; the principle is the same as graphite.
Players generating higher club head speeds will benefit from heavier shafts, and lighter shafts will suit players with less club head speed.Heavier shafts tend to fall into a stiffer bracket compared to lighter shafts.
There are specific ladies’ flex shafts in both graphite and steel, but if they generate sufficient club head speed, they will use regular or stiff flex shafts similar to their male counterparts.
Any player generating club head speeds past 110 mph will fall more into the extra stiff bracket – the added weight of these shafts makes them a more stable proposition at such high speeds.
Looking at the driver loft in the first instance, women’s drivers generally feature a higher loft than their male counterparts.
The reason for this comes back to club head speed generated.
If not enough club head speed is generated with a lower lofted driver, the ball doesn’t get airborne sufficiently to maximize distance.
The interesting thing to note is that of the top 50 LPGA Tour players in the 2021 season, the average driver loft was nine degrees, which matched the PGA Tour average for the same season.
With irons, there is a slight difference generally of 0.5 degrees between women’s irons and men’s irons.
Given the average height between women and men, this will generally translate into the shafts of female golfers being up to half an inch shorter than the male equivalents.
Again, the lines can be blurred if you have a tall female or short male golfer. Their shafts must be cut to their particular preferences, highlighting the need to properly fit clubs for male or female players.
#5: Grip Size
Women’s clubs will generally feature thinner grips compared to their male counterparts.
This is based purely on the fact that, in general, women’s hands are smaller than men’s.
Grips that are too thick for the golfer can promote leaving the club face open at impact and shots leaking out to the right (for right-handed golfers).
The opposite is true of grips that are too thin. The tendency is for the golfer’s hands to be too active in the swing, resulting in shots going left.
A Look at the Clubs Used By The Best Female and Male Golfers in the World
At this time, the two best players in the women’s and men’s games are sponsored by TaylorMade.
This allows us to see how both players have their bags set up from the same manufacturer and is a great example to show the difference between mens and womens golf clubs.
|Club||Nelly Korda||Scottie Scheffler|
|Driver||TaylorMade Stealth 2 HD||TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus|
|Fairway Woods||TaylorMade Stealth 2 15, 21 degrees fairways||TaylorMade Stealth 2 15 degree fairway|
|Irons||TaylorMade P-770, P-7MC 7-PW||Srixon ZU85 3-4 iron, TaylorMade P7TW 5-PW|
|Wedges||TaylorMade Milled Grind 3||Titleist Vokey SM8|
It is also a great example highlighting the difference between mens and womens golf clubs.
Korda’s driver is an interesting choice. She uses the “HD” model, which stands for High Draw.
This model on paper suits players who fight a slice. The weighting in the head is moved as far back and low towards the heel of the head to allow the toe of the driver to close quicker through impact.
Scheffler’s driver sees the weight move forward in the head, lowering the center of gravity for a lower-spinning launch.
Interestingly, there is only a degree of loft difference between the two players’ drivers – Korda – 9 degrees, Scheffler – 8 degrees.
Both players use the same three-wood head, the Stealth 2, and have the head set at fifteen degrees loft.
Although taking different routes, both players tackle the longer irons similarly in their bags.
They are looking for more forgiveness in their longer irons, while their choice in the shorter irons reflects that both players want to maximize control and feel.
What Lessons Can We Learn?
Looking in the bags of the best female and male golfers in the world is an interesting exercise, and there are some lessons we can learn and implement into our club selections.
The first point is to be open-minded about what can work well for your game. We might look at a club and decide there’s no way it can benefit us, but if it produces the necessary results, it’s worth putting in the bag.
Nelly Korda’s driver selection is not a model that would commonly be associated with a professional golfer.
But the point is that in testing, the HD model will have produced the best results for Korda, and that’s why she put it into play.
Korda and Scheffler both have their drivers set up with relatively low lofts. Still, not all players have the same settings, and amateurs don’t have to fall into the trap of going for low-lofted drivers.
Dustin Johnson, one of the longest hitters in recent years on the PGA Tour, used a driver commonly set at 11.5 degrees loft.
Loft can help women and men with low club head speeds generate optimal spin levels and carry distances. Both Korda and Scheffler get some assistance with their longer irons. Women and men have many alternatives in fairway woods and hybrids to replace difficult-to-hit longer irons.
The difference in shaft flexes between Korda and Scheffler is typical of what we would expect, given the difference in club head speed generated by each player.
Amateur golfers sometimes fall into the “macho trap” of using too heavy or stiff shafts for their abilities.
Again, whether female or male, if you don’t generate high club head speed at the outset, using a lighter, more flexible shaft can help add yards to your game.
Do Manufacturers Offer Clubs Specifically Aimed at Women?
All major manufacturers will offer clubs aimed squarely at female golfers.
While the clubs may feature variations we’ve already looked at in the difference between mens and womens golf clubs, the heads used for women’s clubs are the same as those destined for men’s clubs.
New design and technology coupled with lighter materials means the difference between mens and womens golf clubs has narrowed.
We still see a difference in overall weight, length, and grip size between women’s and men’s golf clubs, partly due to physical differences between men and women.
Manufacturers produce clubs aimed squarely at female golfers, which can be custom-fitted to their requirements in the same fashion as men’s clubs.
The bottom line is whether you are new to golf or an experienced player, there has never been a better choice of clubs for both women and men.
We spoke about Scottie Scheffler earlier. If you want to know more about the current world number one, you can read the following piece: